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Does Direct Democracy Matters for Political Parties : An Empirical Test in the Swiss Cantons
According to most political scientists and commentators, direct democracy seems to weaken political parties. Our empirical analysis in the 26 Swiss cantons shows that this thesis in its general form cannot be maintained. Political parties in cantons with extensive use of referendums and initiatives are not in all respects weaker than parties in cantons with little use of direct democratic means of participation. On the contrary, direct democracy goes together with more professional and formalized party organizations. Use of direct democracy is associated with more fragmented and volatile party systems, and with greater support for small parties, but causal interpretations of these relationships are difficult.
direct democracy, party organization, political parties, Swiss cantons
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